World Championship Rumors
FIBA on Sunday celebrated 1,000 days to go to the Basketball World Cup 2019 in China with a special event at Beijing’s Wukesong Culture & Sports Centre, where former China international and global icon Yao Ming was unveiled as the competition’s first ambassador. On hand for this milestone event were a number of distinguished guests, including China’s Vice Minister of Sports, Mr Gao Zhidan; the Vice Secretary General of Beijing Municipal Government, Mr Jiang Fan; members of the China 2019 Local Organising Committee (LOC), officials from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and representatives from the eight host cities as well as FIBA Partners. They were joined by FIBA Chief Operating Officer Markus Studer and FIBA Media and Marketing Services (FMMS) Director General Frank Leenders. Yao Ming – who achieved stardom by representing China’s national team at two FIBA Basketball World Cups and three Olympic Games, as well as by leading his country to three FIBA Asia Cup titles – spoke of the immense pride he feels in being an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in his homeland.
“First off all Coach K and Gregg Popovich are two my favorites of all time,” James said. “To be able to play for Coach K in the Olympics and world championships and to be able to go against Coach Pop in the NBA, it would be a treat. Obviously my body has to continue to be in the form that it is today four years from now.”
As reported by El Mundo Deportivo, Spanish NT has been suspended from Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and from the next World Championships by FIBA. The suspension comes because of the support that ACB has given to Euroleague. Spanish NT qualified for the Olympics Games winning the last European Championship in France but now they can’t play in the tournament.
There is much on which to reflect, of course. Since the disaster that was the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, which saw the first loss suffered by a U.S. team that was using pro players and had Team USA finishing sixth, and the debacle in Athens in 04, the Americans have gone 42-1 in tournament play, winning four gold medals and a bronze (in the 2006 world championships, a rebuilding effort of sorts). While there are legitimate concerns about whether stars such as James and Carmelo Anthony will want to pursue another gold medal next summer, Colangelo points out it was that group of players, with Dwyane Wade, who helped push the Team USA rebuild. Both James and Anthony were part of the Athens team and, coming off their rookie NBA seasons, had generally miserable experiences in Greece.